South African visual artist Ewald Esselen

Ewald Esselen

Limpopo | 3 artworks for sale

  • Citizen #3 - Painting by Ewald Esselen Citizen #3
    Painting / 42 x 59 cm
    R8 000
  • Citizen #4 - Painting by Ewald Esselen Citizen #4
    Painting / 42 x 59 cm
    R8 000
  • Semblance - Drawing by Ewald Esselen Semblance
    Drawing / 70 x 100 cm
    R5 750
  • Citizen #1 - Painting by Ewald Esselen
    Citizen #1
    Painting / 42 x 59 cm
  • Citizen #2 - Painting by Ewald Esselen
    Citizen #2
    Painting / 42 x 59 cm
  • Instance - Drawing by Ewald Esselen
    Instance
    Drawing / 70 x 100 cm
  • Heart - Drawing by Ewald Esselen
    Heart
    Drawing / 70 x 100 cm
The focus on the human form creates a link to the human condition and psyche. The artworks are intended to examine the ‘inner workings’ of a person, exploring occurrences from the profound to the mundane, investigating the experiences that shape us as and the environment in which we find ourselves.
Most of the artworks are created using pen and ink on paper, however a range of mediums and styles are explored.

Ewald (b.1991) grew up in the Lowveld where he developed a love for drawing from an early age, spending any time he could creating characters and creatures drawn in scenes or comic strips.

He attended studies in film and illustration after which he decided to direct his attention toward art. As a subject he began focusing on portraiture and figure drawings where references to the natural world often appear in artworks or themes.

Selected exhibitions:

2021
Group exhibition: ‘Pretty much’ at The Henry George Gallery, Johannesburg

2020
Group exhibition:‘Here, I brought you a dead thing’ group exhibition at The Henry George Gallery, Johannesburg

2019
Group exhibition:‘Say Africa’ at The White River Gallery by Halifax Art, White River

Which artists, books or music have inspired your work?
I would say South African artists Diane Victor and Marlene Dumas have always been an inspiration to me.  I’m inspired by books that are written in the stream of consciousness method.

Which South African deceased artist do you most admire and why?
Pierneef, for the way his work is instantly recognisable.

If you could only have one piece of art in your life, what would it be?
A small cast or copy of ‘The Thinker’ by Rodin.

Pick three artists who you would be honored to exhibit with – and why
I will have to say the two artists who have inspired my work; Diane Victor for her technical abilities and her fearless approach to the concepts of her work, and Marlene Dumas for the gripping attention her portraits draw from the viewer. I would also say Dylan Lewis for his ability to capture movement in his sculptures.

How did you get started? Did you always want to be an artist?
I always had a great love for drawing since a young age and I never stopped loving it. I did not initially want to be an artist, but my love and appreciation for it grew as I grew up, and with the desire to improve technically I set about starting my career as an artist.   

What are some of the key themes you explore in your work?
The initial themes I am drawn to are psychology and the human condition. I am also increasingly drawn to representing a reconnection to nature.

What should people know about your art that they can’t tell from looking at it?
A lot of the portraits are done using my own references, and so they are people in my life that are most often very close to me. This immediately creates a strong sense of care that I have in creating the portrait.

What are the most essential items in your studio and why?
A bright and large lamp, to ensure I have clear vision, allowing me to work longer.

Tell us more about your creative process.
I am either very organised and planned in my approach, from conception and initial compositions through to the final result, or I embrace spontaneity and allow an artwork to form itself. I think each idea or desired result determines which route to take, however I love combining the two processes as well.   

Do you believe an artist should use their platform to influence society? Why?
I think it depends on each individual artist and whether or not they believe they have something to lend toward influencing society, and I think an artist can try to lean toward it in their thinking alone for the possibility to engage at some point in their career, if it allows it, since the platform allows for the opportunity to do so.

Do you have a favourite or most meaningful work?
Being early in my career I am at a place where each new artwork feels meaningful as I try to take a step forward and reach a specific goal with each artwork or group that I complete.

What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date?
Finding the ability and methods to remain consistent and committed to continually improve as an artist.

What are your aspirations for the future?
In terms of art  I am hoping to continue exhibiting, take part in competitions and to attend workshops and artist residencies both locally and abroad.